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New Director Promises to Revive Washington DC VA Medical Center

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Michael Heimall, who has been appointed as the new full-time director of Washington D.C. VA Medical Center, has promised to improve the performance of the ailing center.

Heimall, a former administrator at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, was named the new director in October. He’ll be the fifth person to head the center since April 2017, taking over a facility that has 2,000 employees and many pending projects that has impeded its smooth functioning.

DC VA Medical Center is considered to be the worst performing medical center in America, as per VA internal rating system, and officially described as “high risk, low performing.”

“I want veterans to know that we are absolutely committed to providing them the best health care that we possibly can,” said Heimall, adding that more staff will be hired to improve sterilization program and supply management at the center.

Earlier, a medical team at the center was found to have delayed treatment of a patient, who was placed under full anaesthesia, due to supply problems.

“We should never have a patient in an operating room under general anesthesia and have to cancel a case because we didn’t have a piece of equipment available,” said Heimall.

Shortage of parking spaces at the center has also been an issue which has affected the mobility of patients, as per a 2018 report by the I-team. Now a new parking garage is expected to be completed by March, according to Heimall.

“It better be ready in March. I will be very upset if it’s not. It’s on track right now,” he said.

The ageing medical center requires many upgrades and expansions, according to Heimall. The building is more than 50 years old and has many issues, including faults in air conditioning, roof leaks, and equipment breakdowns.

“I’ve had the opportunity over my military career to lead a couple of hospitals that were very, very old. I’m very impressed with what the staff has done,” said Heimall.

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